This year, however we have decided to stay in. And by we, I mean Colby has to work and I am not going out by myself. There were a couple of nights before today we could have gone, but when you have grown up going to parades your whole life, a little rain and cold tends to make you change your mind and say, "I'll go next year." So, we'll go next year!
Now, all that being said...Colby and I have just returned from a 7-day cruise with Royal Caribbean on their brand new ship, Symphony of the Seas. And let me tell you, this ship is a city all on its own. It holds more people than a lot of towns throughout America. Seriously. It's a biggun.
This cruise has been a year and a half in the making. In September 2017, we took our first cruise together on the Allure of the Seas. If you remember, this was the same time as the devastating Hurricane Maria that hit the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and and Tropics. Having seen firsthand the devastation a hurricane can throw onto a region, this was something beyond. Tourism is this area's entire income and revenue. That's really it.
Without being super depressing, to say the people here are resilient is an absolute understatement.
While on our cruise in September 2017, we booked our next cruise on Royal Caribbean's yet to sail, Symphony of the Seas. We booked the same itinerary knowing come February 2019 these islands would be back up and running and would need support in not just words, but in funds as well.
So that brings us to the present and Taperts' Vacation Time!
And let me tell you, this trip did not disappoint. Our destination spots included St. Marteen, St. Thomas, and the Bahamas. Our port was Miami.
In Miami, we killed two birds with one stone by also being able to spend time with Colby's parents, Lynette and Kevin. I had never been to Miami before, so I asked a patient who lives there for some suggestions and was told the Wynwood and Brickell. And so it was.
We spent most of our day viewing the numerous amount of artwork through the Wynwood neighborhood. Amazing pieces to be sure.
That evening, we headed to the Brickell neighborhood where we went rooftop to Sugar at the East Hotel. Amazing cocktails and views of the city!
The next morning was day one of our trip, and we didn't want to waste anytime.
For those who cruise too, let me tell you the process at the Miami port is a freakin' breeze! It moved so quickly, I literally thought I missed something and shouldn't be on the ship yet!
Once we were on the ship, all nerves and anxiety gone, I was so ready to have these next seven days relaxing and recharging; and not just for me, but for Colby, who's profession requires a lot of time outside of your normal 5 day/40 hour work week. We needed this, and Royal Caribbean most definitely provided.
The ship was amazing. It always is, but it was seriously so pretty! Our room had a balcony overlooking the Boardwalk, where we could people watch and see the best water/acrobat show I have ever seen, Hiro.
Sea days reading and relaxing, listening to podcasts, laying in the sun, trivia games throughout the ship, sipping cocktails made by ROBOTS, testing my luck at the casino, miniature golf....an unending list of things to do on a ship that holds over 8,000 passenger and crew.
When we docked, we headed to St. Marteen and St. Thomas.
St. Marteen means I am heading to Taloula Mango's and the Blue Bitch Bar. Anytime I am cruising here, you can find me here all day. Awesome spot with locals and the beautiful beach just a few steps away. Headed that way soon? Ask for Claudia and pick up a shirt from their gift shop.
If you don't know me, you will soon learn I am a creature of habit. When I find what I believe to be the best, I stay with the best. So when I go to St. Thomas, you can find me laying out on the beach of Magen's Bay, sipping their absolutely and dangerously delicious Painkillers, while chowing down on the best pepperoni pizza I have ever had (and know I have had a fuck-ton of pizza from so many different places...and I dream of Magen's Bay pizza on the regular). Although the taxi ride can be a little rough for the motion sickness prone like myself, the weaving up and down the mountains of St. Thomas proves to be worth it every time.
Upon reaching the Bahamas, I will say Colby and I took this time to stay on the ship and enjoy a chance at true peace and quiet on our vacation. With so many headed to the island, we were able to take in the sun by the pool, Colby showed off his chops on the Flowrider, and head to several spots sometimes too busy in the middle of the day. And naps...so many naps!
Other than the ease of sitting back and letting the ship take you to your next destination, cruises allow you to meet and mingle with people you may have never had the opportunity to meet.
When booking our cruise, I had our travel agent, Suzanne, put us at a 10-top table. This would loan us the opportunity to chat up other vacationers, and I am so glad we did. This trip we were able to meet a hilarious and wonderful couple, Ricky and Serguei. If you are planning a cruise and wondering if you should do the two-top or sit with a bunch of strangers...sit with the strangers. It could lead you to a night of an amazing dinner and karaoke jams with new friends.
A week later, and I am still reminiscing and laughing about our trip, wishing we could go back. We haven't scheduled our next trip just yet, but I can promise you we will be back.